, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 255-269
Date: 27 Aug 2008

Sex offenders, housing and spatial restriction zones

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Abstract

Sex offenders are currently a major focus of crime control policies at the local, regional, state and federal levels throughout the United States. In part, the perceived threat of offender recidivism has motivated legislators to launch stringent community notification programs and to establish spatial restriction zones (SRZs) around schools, daycare facilities and public parks. The purpose of these restriction zones is to help protect children and minimize their exposure to convicted sex offenders living in the community. In addition to the concern that the implementation of SRZs dramatically reduces viable housing options for registered sex offenders, there are concerns that offenders will be forced to reside in socially disorganized areas that may encourage recidivism. The purpose of this paper is to explore the demographic and socioeconomic differences between areas inside and outside SRZs. Implications of these results for sex offender policies are discussed.